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Men’s Hoops Falls in Tuscaloosa, Lose 78-60

Tigers rolled again

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU’s men’s basketball team has fallen on hard times and that unfortunate trend continued Wednesday night as the Tigers (11-6, 6-4) lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide (15-4, 10-0) for the second time this year.

When the two teams met in Baton Rouge roughly two weeks ago, Alabama ran LSU off the floor thanks to an SEC-record 23 three pointers. Wednesday’s game was the complete opposite, LSU held Alabama to 6-24 from distance but the Tide pounded LSU inside and scored 52 points in the paint.

The problems that have plagued LSU all season long surfaced once again Wednesday. LSU got out-rebounded by 15 and had more turnovers, 13, than assists, 8, and got virtually nothing from its bench, especially compared to Alabama’s (34 bench points to 7).

Cam Thomas again had a 20-point game, but needed 19 shots to get there. He did shoot 2-4 from three, by far his best effort from distance since his 5-11 night against Texas A&M December 29. Thomas also had a season-high five rebounds.

But Thomas would get little to no help from his teammates. Javonte Smart, fresh off a 29-point effort against Texas Tech, had a night to forget, shooting 4-15 and turning it over five times. Trendon Watford, the Alabama native, also struggled in his return home, shooting 3-13.

The LSU bench was once again devoid of offense, as five players combined for seven points, and five of them were scored at the free throw line. Jalen Cook, Eric Gaines, Shareef O’Neal, Andre Hyatt and Josh Gray combined to make one basket on 10 attempts.

LSU has lost four of its last five games and the challenging part of its schedule is not yet over. Saturday LSU gets its second shot at the Florida Gators, who beat the Tigers in early January.